A Round and a Roundy: The Symbolic End to De Blasio’s Vision Zero

Cartoon: Bill Roundy
Cartoon: Bill Roundy

Is there any more fitting symbol to the haphazard administration of Vision Zero than last month’s revelation that Mayor de Blasio had abandoned his plans to bring safety and transit improvements to Fifth Avenue after having a conversation with a pro-car billionaire?

It was all there in the New York Times: How Hizzoner capitulated to the desires of real estate mogul Steve Roth. Here’s how the story opened:

On the second Friday in October, Mayor Bill de Blasio met at City Hall with Steven Roth, one of New York City’s most powerful real estate developers.

On the agenda: the developer’s concerns about Mr. de Blasio’s plans to transform Fifth Avenue, New York City’s most famous shopping corridor, into a thoroughfare that prioritized buses over cars.

Within days of the meeting, Mr. de Blasio’s transportation commissioner asked staff to reconsider the plan the mayor had announced more than a year before, according to two people familiar with the decision who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Wow. Now, the demise of a single street improvement project might not be the biggest deal had it not followed similar examples of the de Blasio administration’s blurriness on Vision Zero: the administration’s failure on Atlantic Avenue, for example, or its capitulation to special interests in Sunset Park, or in Bay Ridge or in Flatbush or in … The list is longer than it should be.

But for now, our national treasure cartoonist only wants to highlight the ignominy of de Blasio’s decision on Fifth Avenue — one that came after he had already watered down the project. It’s a cartoon packed with some of Bill Roundy’s much-loved tropes: Sleepy de Blasio in his nightclothes, his strings being pulled by the special interests. In other words, an instant classic.

All of Bill Roundy’s cartoons are archived here. Trade them with your friends.

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